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1.  Neuroinflammation in animal models of traumatic brain injury 
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Neuroinflammation is prominent in the short and long-term consequences of neuronal injuries that occur after TBI. Neuroinflammation involves the activation of glia, including microglia and astrocytes, to release inflammatory mediators within the brain, and the subsequent recruitment of peripheral immune cells. Various animal models of TBI have been developed that have proved valuable to elucidate the pathophysiology of the disorder and to assess the safety and efficacy of novel therapies prior to clinical trials. These models provide an excellent platform to delineate key injury mechanisms that associate with types of injury (concussion, contusion, and penetration injuries) that occur clinically for the investigation of mild, moderate, and severe forms of TBI. Additionally, TBI modeling in genetically engineered mice, in particular, has aided the identification of key molecules and pathways for putative injury mechanisms, as targets for development of novel therapies for human TBI. This Review details the evidence showing that neuroinflammation, characterized by the activation of microglia and astrocytes and elevated production of inflammatory mediators, is a critical process occurring in various TBI animal models, provides a broad overview of commonly used animal models of TBI, and overviews representative techniques to quantify markers of the brain inflammatory process. A better understanding of neuroinflammation could open therapeutic avenues for abrogation of secondary cell death and behavioral symptoms that may mediate the progression of TBI.
PMCID: PMC5201203  PMID: 27382003
2.  Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor Increases Cerebral Blood Flow via a NO Surge Mediated by Akt/eNOS Pathway to Reduce Ischemic Injury 
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:657932.
Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) protects brain from ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury, and inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthases partially reduces G-CSF protection. We thus further investigated the effects of G-CSF on ischemia-induced NO production and its consequence on regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and neurological deficit. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) microinfused above middle cerebral artery caused a rapid reduction of rCBF (ischemia) which lasted for 30 minutes and was followed by a gradual recovery of blood flow (reperfusion) within the striatal region. Regional NO concentration increased rapidly (NO surge) during ischemia and recovered soon to the baseline. G-CSF increased rCBF resulting in shorter ischemic duration and an earlier onset of reperfusion. The enhancement of the ischemia-induced NO by G-CSF accompanied by elevation of phospho-Akt and phospho-eNOS was noted, suggesting an activation of Akt/eNOS. I/R-induced infarct volume and neurological deficits were also reduced by G-CSF treatment. Inhibition of NO synthesis by L-NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester (L-NAME) significantly reduced the effects of G-CSF on rCBF, NO surge, infarct volume, and neurological deficits. We conclude that G-CSF increases rCBF through a NO surge mediated by Akt/eNOS, which partially contributes to the beneficial effect of G-CSF on brain I/R injury.
PMCID: PMC4471400  PMID: 26146654
3.  Thaliporphine Derivative Improves Acute Lung Injury after Traumatic Brain Injury 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:729831.
Acute lung injury (ALI) occurs frequently in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is associated with a poor clinical outcome. Aquaporins (AQPs), particularly AQP1 and AQP4, maintain water balances between the epithelial and microvascular domains of the lung. Since pulmonary edema (PE) usually occurs in the TBI-induced ALI patients, we investigated the effects of a thaliporphine derivative, TM-1, on the expression of AQPs and histological outcomes in the lung following TBI in rats. TM-1 administered (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneal injection) at 3 or 4 h after TBI significantly reduced the elevated mRNA expression and protein levels of AQP1 and AQP4 and diminished the wet/dry weight ratio, which reflects PE, in the lung at 8 and 24 h after TBI. Postinjury TM-1 administration also improved histopathological changes at 8 and 24 h after TBI. PE was accompanied with tissue pathological changes because a positive correlation between the lung injury score and the wet/dry weight ratio in the same animal was observed. Postinjury administration of TM-1 improved ALI and reduced PE at 8 and 24 h following TBI. The pulmonary-protective effect of TM-1 may be attributed to, at least in part, downregulation of AQP1 and AQP4 expression after TBI.
PMCID: PMC4330958  PMID: 25705683
4.  Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid represses glioma stem-like cells 
Glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) are proposed to be responsible for high resistance in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treatment. In order to find new strategies aimed at reducing GSC stemness and improving GBM patient survival, we investigated the effects and mechanism of a histone deacetylases (HDACs) inhibitor, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), since HDAC activity has been linked to cancer stem-like cell (CSC) abundance and properties.
Human GBM cell lines were plated in serum-free suspension cultures allowed for sphere forming and CSC enrichment. Subsequently, upon SAHA treatment, the stemness markers, cell proliferation, and viability of GSCs as well as cellular apoptosis and senescence were examined in order to clarify whether inhibition of GSCs occurs.
We demonstrated that SAHA attenuated cell proliferation and diminished the expression stemness-related markers (CD133 and Bmi1) in GSCs. Furthermore, at high concentrations (more than 5 μM), SAHA triggered apoptosis of GSCs accompanied by increases in both activation of caspase 8- and caspase 9-mediated pathways. Interestingly, we found that a lower dose of SAHA (1 μM and 2.5 μM) inhibited GSCs via cell cycle arrest and induced premature senescence through p53 up-regulation and p38 activation.
SAHA induces apoptosis and functions as a potent modulator of senescence via the p38-p53 pathway in GSCs. Our results provide a perspective on targeting GSCs via SAHA treatment, and suggest that SAHA could be used as a potent agent to overcome drug resistance in GBM patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12929-016-0296-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5116136  PMID: 27863490
Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid; GBM stem-like cells; Senescence; Apoptosis; p38; p53
5.  Efficacy and safety of secukinumab in the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with high rate of recurrence. New anti-interleukin-17 (IL-17) and anti-IL17RA biologics are in Phase 3 clinical trials and may prove to be more effective than existing biologic drugs. Now we perform a meta-analysis on efficacy and safety of secukinumab in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. In this meta-analysis, data analysis was performed with the Cochrane Collaboration’s RevMan 5.0 software. Eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 3,213 psoriasis cases were included in the meta-analysis. Co-primary endpoints (week 12) were ≥ 75%/90% improvement in psoriasis area and a score of 0 (clear) or 1 (almost clear) on a 5-point Investigator’s Global Assessment scale (IGA mod 2011 0/1) versus placebo [1]. The overall efficacy in the meta-analysis was as follows: PASI 75: for secukinumab 150 mg versus placebo, fixed-effects OR = 49.25, 95% CI: 33.67-72.06, Z = 20.07, P < 0.00001; PASI 90: for secukinumab 150 mg versus placebo, fixed-effects OR = 44.92, 95% CI: 24.72-81.62, Z = 12.49, P < 0.00001; IGA mod 2011 0/1: for secukinumab 150 mg versus placebo, random-effects OR = 22.25, 95% CI: 7.63-64.84, Z = 5.68, P < 0.00001; Compared with placebo, there were no significant adverse effects in the secukinumab groups, demonstrating safety in the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The proportion of patients who achieved 75%, 90% and IGA mod 2011 0/1 reductions respectively was significant in the secukinumab groups, demonstrating a rapid clinical improvement accompanied by a favorable short-term safety profile.
PMCID: PMC4443039  PMID: 26064205
Psoriasis; secukinumab; meta-analysis
6.  Benzydamine Oral Spray Inhibiting Parasympathetic Function of Tracheal Smooth Muscle 
Benzydamine is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents agent with anti-inflammatory and local anesthesia properties that is available in the entire world as an oral spray for oral mucositis patients who are suffering from radiation effects. The effect of benzydamine on oral mucositis in vivo is well known; however, the effect of the drug on tracheal smooth muscle has rarely been explored. During administration of the benzydamine for oral symptoms, it might affect the trachea via oral intake or inhalation.
We examined the effectiveness of benzydamine on isolated rat tracheal smooth muscle. The following assessments of benzydamine were performed: effect on tracheal smooth muscle resting tension; effect on contraction caused by 10-6M methacholine as a parasympathetic mimetic; and effect of the drug on electrically induced tracheal smooth muscle contractions.
Addition of methacholine to the incubation medium caused the trachea to contract in a dose-dependent manner. Addition of benzydamine at doses of 10-5M or above elicited a significant relaxation response to 10-6M methacholine-induced contraction. Benzydamine could inhibit electrical field stimulation-induced spike contraction. It alone had a minimal effect on the basal tension of trachea as the concentration increased.
This study indicated that high concentrations of benzydamine might actually inhibit parasympathetic function of the trachea. Benzydamine might reduce asthma attacks in oral mucositis patients because it could inhibit parasympathetic function and reduce methacholine-induced contraction of tracheal smooth muscle.
PMCID: PMC4338094  PMID: 25729498
Benzydamine; Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal; Trachea; Smooth Muscle; In Vitro Study
7.  Collagen-Glycosaminoglycan Matrix Implantation Promotes Angiogenesis following Surgical Brain Trauma 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:672409.
Surgical brain injury (SBI) is unavoidable during many neurosurgical procedures intrinsically linked to postoperative neurological deficits. We have previously demonstrated that implantation of collagen glycosaminoglycan (CG) following surgical brain injury could significantly promote functional recovery and neurogenesis. In this study we further hypothesized that this scaffold may provide a microenvironment by promoting angiogenesis to favor neurogenesis and subsequent functional recovery. Using the rodent model of surgical brain injury as we previously established, we divided Sprague-Dawley male rats (weighting 300–350 g) into three groups: (1) sham (2) surgical injury with a lesion (L), and (3) L with CG matrix implantation (L + CG). Our results demonstrated that L + CG group showed a statistically significant increase in the density of vascular endothelial cells and blood vessels over time. In addition, tissue concentrations of angiogenic growth factors (such as VEGF, FGF2, and PDGF) significantly increased in L + CG group. These results suggest that implantation of a CG scaffold can promote vascularization accompanied by neurogenesis. This opens prospects for use of CG scaffolds in conditions such as brain injury including trauma and ischemia.
PMCID: PMC4182695  PMID: 25309917
9.  Pomalidomide mitigates neuronal loss, neuroinflammation, and behavioral impairments induced by traumatic brain injury in rat 
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global health concern that typically causes emotional disturbances and cognitive dysfunction. Secondary pathologies following TBI may be associated with chronic neurodegenerative disorders and an enhanced likelihood of developing dementia-like disease in later life. There are currently no approved drugs for mitigating the acute or chronic effects of TBI.
The effects of the drug pomalidomide (Pom), an FDA-approved immunomodulatory agent, were evaluated in a rat model of moderate to severe TBI induced by controlled cortical impact. Post-TBI intravenous administration of Pom (0.5 mg/kg at 5 or 7 h and 0.1 mg/kg at 5 h) was evaluated on functional and histological measures that included motor function, fine more coordination, somatosensory function, lesion volume, cortical neurodegeneration, neuronal apoptosis, and the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6).
Pom 0.5 mg/kg administration at 5 h, but not at 7 h post-TBI, significantly mitigated the TBI-induced injury volume and functional impairments, neurodegeneration, neuronal apoptosis, and cytokine mRNA and protein induction. To evaluate underlying mechanisms, the actions of Pom on neuronal survival, microglial activation, and the induction of TNF-α were assessed in mixed cortical cultures following a glutamate challenge. Pom dose-dependently ameliorated glutamate-mediated cytotoxic effects on cell viability and reduced microglial cell activation, significantly attenuating the induction of TNF-α.
Post-injury treatment with a single Pom dose within 5 h significantly reduced functional impairments in a well-characterized animal model of TBI. Pom decreased the injury lesion volume, augmented neuronal survival, and provided anti-inflammatory properties. These findings strongly support the further evaluation and optimization of Pom for potential use in clinical TBI.
PMCID: PMC4924242  PMID: 27353053
Pomalidomide; Thalidomide; Traumatic brain injury; Controlled cortical impact; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Interleukin-1β; Interleukin-6; Glutamate excitotoxicity; Neuronal apoptosis; Neuroinflammation
10.  1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 attenuates endotoxin-induced production of inflammatory mediators by inhibiting MAPK activation in primary cortical neuron-glia cultures 
Neuroinflammation occurs in insulted regions of the brain and may be due to reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), cytokines, and chemokines produced by activated glia. Excessive production of neurotoxic molecules causes further neuronal damage. Low levels of vitamin D3 are a risk factor for various brain diseases.
Using the bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), to induce neuroinflammation in primary cortical neuron-glia cultures, we investigated how 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) affected neuroinflammation.
LPS (100 ng/ml) induced the accumulation of nitrite and the production of ROS, interleukin (IL)-6, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 in time-dependent manners. Inhibition of p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) but not c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) by 20 μM of SB203580, PD98059, and SP600125, significantly reduced LPS-induced ROS production, NO accumulation, and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) expression, respectively. LPS-induced IL-6 and MIP-2 were significantly attenuated by inhibition of p38, ERK, and JNK MAPK. Cotreatment with 1,25(OH)2D3 attenuated LPS-induced ROS production, NO accumulation, and iNOS expression in concentration-dependent manners. 1,25(OH)2D3 also reduced LPS-induced production of IL-6 and MIP-2. Similarly, iNOS, IL-6, and MIP-2 mRNA expression in cells treated with LPS significantly increased, whereas this effect was attenuated by 1,25(OH)2D3. Moreover, LPS-induced phosphorylation of p38, ERK, and JNK MAPK was significantly inhibited by 1,25(OH)2D3.
Our findings indicate that 1,25(OH)2D3 reduced the LPS-stimulated production of inflammatory molecules in neuron-glia cultures by inhibiting MAPK pathways and the production of downstream inflammatory molecules. We suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 can be used to alleviate neuroinflammation in various brain injuries.
PMCID: PMC4532256  PMID: 26259787
11.  Equine Viperin Restricts Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Replication by Inhibiting the Production and/or Release of Viral Gag, Env, and Receptor via Distortion of the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(21):12296-12310.
Viperin is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated multifunctional protein that regulates virus replication and possesses broad antiviral activity. In many cases, viperin interferes with the trafficking and budding of viral structural proteins by distorting the membrane transportation system. The lentivirus equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) has been studied extensively. In this study, we examined the restrictive effect of equine viperin (eViperin) on EIAV replication and investigated the possible molecular basis of this restriction to obtain insights into the effect of this cellular factor on retroviruses. We demonstrated that EIAV infection of primary equine monocyte-derived macrophages (eMDMs) upregulated the expression of eViperin. The overexpression of eViperin significantly inhibited the replication of EIAV in eMDMs, and knockdown of eViperin transcription enhanced the replication of EIAV in eMDMs by approximately 45.8%. Further experiments indicated that eViperin restricts EIAV at multiple steps of viral replication. The overexpression of eViperin inhibited EIAV Gag release. Both the α-helix domain and radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) domain were required for this activity. However, the essential motifs in SAM were different from those reported for the inhibition of HIV-1 Gag by human viperin. Furthermore, eViperin disrupted the synthesis of both EIAV Env and receptor, which consequently inhibited viral production and entry, respectively, and this disruption was dependent on the eViperin α-helix domain. Using immunofluorescence assays and electron microscopy, we demonstrated that the α-helix domain is responsible for the distortion of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Finally, EIAV did not exhibit counteracting eViperin at the protein level.
IMPORTANCE In previous studies, viperin was indicated as restricting virus replications primarily by the inhibition of virus budding. Here, we show that viperin may have multiple antiviral mechanisms, including the reduction of EIAV Gag budding and Env expression, and these activities are dependent on different viperin domains. We especially demonstrate that the overexpression of viperin inhibits EIAV entry by decreasing the level of virus receptor. Therefore, viperin restriction of viruses is determined largely by the dependence of virus on the cellular membrane transportation system.
PMCID: PMC4248950  PMID: 25122784
12.  Fluoxetine, an antidepressant, suppresses glioblastoma by evoking AMPAR-mediated calcium-dependent apoptosis 
Oncotarget  2014;6(7):5088-5101.
The efficacy of glioblastoma chemotherapy is not satisfactory; therefore, a new medication is expected to improve outcomes. As much evidence shows that antidepressants decrease cancer incidence and improve patients' quality of life, we therefore attempted to explore the potential for fluoxetine to be used to treat GBM and its possible underlying mechanism. The expression level of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR) was determined using immunohistochemical staining and PCR analysis. The mechanism of fluoxetine-induced apoptosis of gliomas was elucidated. Computer modeling and a binding assay were conducted to investigate the interaction of fluoxetine with the AMPAR. The therapeutic effect of fluoxetine was evaluated using an animal model. We found that fluoxetine directly bound to AMPAR, thus inducing transmembrane Ca2+ influx. The rise in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) causes mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, thereby triggering apoptosis. AMPARs are excessively expressed in glioma tissues, suggesting that fluoxetine specifically executes glioma cells. Our in vivo study revealed that fluoxetine suppressed the growth of glioblastomas in brains of Nu/Nu mice, an effect similar to that produced by temozolomide. Our preclinical studies suggest fluoxetine, a commonly used antidepressant, might be selectively toxic to gliomas and could provide a new approach for managing this disease.
PMCID: PMC4467135  PMID: 25671301
glioblastoma; antidepressant; AMPA receptor; excitotoxicity
13.  Transiently lowering tumor necrosis factor-α synthesis ameliorates neuronal cell loss and cognitive impairments induced by minimal traumatic brain injury in mice 
The treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents an unmet medical need, as no effective pharmacological treatment currently exists. The development of such a treatment requires a fundamental understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that underpin the sequelae resulting from TBI, particularly the ensuing neuronal cell death and cognitive impairments. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a cytokine that is a master regulator of systemic and neuroinflammatory processes. TNF-α levels are reported to become rapidly elevated post TBI and, potentially, can lead to secondary neuronal damage.
To elucidate the role of TNF-α in TBI, particularly as a drug target, the present study evaluated (i) time-dependent TNF-α levels and (ii) markers of apoptosis and gliosis within the brain and related these to behavioral measures of ‘well being’ and cognition in a mouse closed head 50 g weight drop mild TBI (mTBI) model in the presence and absence of post-treatment with an experimental TNF-α synthesis inhibitor, 3,6′-dithiothalidomide.
mTBI elevated brain TNF-α levels, which peaked at 12 h post injury and returned to baseline by 18 h. This was accompanied by a neuronal loss and an increase in astrocyte number (evaluated by neuronal nuclei (NeuN) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunostaining), as well as an elevation in the apoptotic death marker BH3-interacting domain death agonist (BID) at 72 h. Selective impairments in measures of cognition, evaluated by novel object recognition and passive avoidance paradigms - without changes in well being, were evident at 7 days after injury. A single systemic treatment with the TNF-α synthesis inhibitor 3,6′-dithiothalidomide 1 h post injury prevented the mTBI-induced TNF-α elevation and fully ameliorated the neuronal loss (NeuN), elevations in astrocyte number (GFAP) and BID, and cognitive impairments. Cognitive impairments evident at 7 days after injury were prevented by treatment as late as 12 h post mTBI but were not reversed when treatment was delayed until 18 h.
These results implicate that TNF-α in mTBI induced secondary brain damage and indicate that pharmacologically limiting the generation of TNF-α post mTBI may mitigate such damage, defining a time-dependent window of up to 12 h to achieve this reversal.
PMCID: PMC4352276  PMID: 25879458
14.  L-Ascorbate Attenuates the Endotoxin-Induced Production of Inflammatory Mediators by Inhibiting MAPK Activation and NF-κB Translocation in Cortical Neurons/Glia Cocultures 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e97276.
In response to acute insults to the central nervous system, such as pathogen invasion or neuronal injuries, glial cells become activated and secrete inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide (NO), cytokines, and chemokines. This neuroinflammation plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Endogenous ascorbate levels are significantly decreased among patients with septic encephalopathy. Using the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce neuroinflammation in primary neuron/glia cocultures, we investigated how L-ascorbate (vitamin C; Vit. C) affected neuroinflammation. LPS (100 ng/ml) induced the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and the production of NO, interleukin (IL)-6, and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2/CXCL2) in a time-dependent manner; however, cotreatment with Vit. C (5 or 10 mM) attenuated the LPS-induced iNOS expression and production of NO, IL-6, and MIP-2 production. The morphological features revealed after immunocytochemical staining confirmed that Vit. C suppressed LPS-induced astrocytic and microglial activation. Because Vit. C can be transported into neurons and glia via the sodium-dependent Vit. C transporter-2, we examined how Vit. C affected LPS-activated intracellular signaling in neuron/glia cocultures. The results indicated the increased activation (caused by phosphorylation) of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), such as p38 at 30 min and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) at 180 min after LPS treatment. The inhibition of p38 and ERK MAPK suppressed the LPS-induced production of inflammatory mediators. Vit. C also inhibited the LPS-induced activation of p38 and ERK. Combined treatments of Vit. C and the inhibitors of p38 and ERK yielded no additional inhibition compared with using the inhibitors alone, suggesting that Vit. C functions through the same signaling pathway (i.e., MAPK) as these inhibitors. Vit. C also reduced LPS-induced IκB-α degradation and NF-κB translocation. Thus, Vit. C suppressed the LPS-stimulated production of inflammatory mediators in neuron/glia cocultures by inhibiting the MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4077707  PMID: 24983461
15.  Low Dose of Valproate Improves Motor Function after Traumatic Brain Injury 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:980657.
Background. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a major health care problem worldwide. Approximately 1.5 million new TBI cases occur annually in the United States, with mortality rates ranging between 35% and 40% in severe patients. Despite the incidence of these injuries and their substantial socioeconomic implications, no specific pharmacological intervention is available for clinical use. Several studies have indicated that 300 mg/kg or 400 mg/kg of valproate (VPA) exhibits neuroprotective effects in animal models. However, humans cannot tolerate high doses of VPA. This study aims to investigate whether 30 mg/kg of VPA administered to rats affects TBIs. Methods. We used a rat model to test the effects of 30 mg/kg of VPA on TBIs. Molecular identifications for histone acetylation and phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) were performed. Results. The results indicated that treating adult rats with VPA after TBIs significantly decreased the contusion volume and recovery of contusion-related skilled forelimb reaching deficits. Applying VPA also increased histone acetylation, p-ERK, and p-CREB expression in the brain. Furthermore, applying VPA reduced inflammation, glial fibrillary acidic protein activation, and apoptosis. Conclusion. This study found that 30 mg/kg of VPA assists in treating TBIs in rat models.
PMCID: PMC3933527  PMID: 24689067
16.  Cognitive Impairments Accompanying Rodent Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Involve p53-Dependent Neuronal Cell Death and Are Ameliorated by the Tetrahydrobenzothiazole PFT-α 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79837.
With parallels to concussive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) occurring in humans, anesthetized mice subjected to a single 30 g weight drop mTBI event to the right parietal cortex exhibited significant diffuse neuronal degeneration that was accompanied by delayed impairments in recognition and spatial memory. To elucidate the involvement of reversible p53-dependent apoptosis in this neuronal loss and associated cognitive deficits, mice were subjected to experimental mTBI followed by the systemic administration of the tetrahydrobenzothiazole p53 inactivator, PFT-α, or vehicle. Neuronal loss was quantified immunohistochemically at 72 hr. post-injury by the use of fluoro-Jade B and NeuN within the dentate gyrus on both sides of the brain, and recognition and spatial memory were assessed by novel object recognition and Y-maze paradigms at 7 and 30 days post injury. Systemic administration of a single dose of PFT-α 1 hr. post-injury significantly ameliorated both neuronal cell death and cognitive impairments, which were no different from sham control animals. Cellular studies on human SH-SY5Y cells and rat primary neurons challenged with glutamate excitotoxicity and H2O2 induced oxidative stress, confirmed the ability of PFT-α and a close analog to protect against these TBI associated mechanisms mediating neuronal loss. These studies suggest that p53-dependent apoptotic mechanisms underpin the neuronal and cognitive losses accompanying mTBI, and that these are potentially reversible by p53 inactivation.
PMCID: PMC3842915  PMID: 24312187
17.  Lower circulating preptin levels in male patients with osteoporosis are correlated with bone mineral density and bone formation 
Serum preptin levels among subjects with different bone mineral densities (BMD) were measured and investigated to determine the correlation between BMD and bone-metabolic markers.
Approximately 52 elderly male patients with osteoporosis, 50 elderly men with osteopaenia, and 31 age-matched normal bone mass controls participated in the study. The serum preptin levels and bone metabolic markers were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The relationships between preptin levels, BMD, and metabolic parameters were also assessed.
The serum preptin level was the lowest in the osteoporosis group and positively correlated with BMD. All the bone formation markers in the osteoporosis and osteopaenia groups were significantly reduced compared with those in the normal group. Serum preptin level was positively correlated with all the bone formation markers, whereas no correlation was observed with the bone resorption marker TRACP-5b.
Serum preptin levels are decreased in osteoporosis and osteopaenia patients and positively correlated with BMD. Therefore, preptin is involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, probably through bone formation rather than bone resorption.
PMCID: PMC3570288  PMID: 23363476
Preptin; Osteoporosis; Bone density; Bone metabolic marker
18.  Systemic administration of urocortin after intracerebral hemorrhage reduces neurological deficits and neuroinflammation in rats 
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) remains a serious clinical problem lacking effective treatment. Urocortin (UCN), a novel anti-inflammatory neuropeptide, protects injured cardiomyocytes and dopaminergic neurons. Our preliminary studies indicate UCN alleviates ICH-induced brain injury when administered intracerebroventricularly (ICV). The present study examines the therapeutic effect of UCN on ICH-induced neurological deficits and neuroinflammation when administered by the more convenient intraperitoneal (i.p.) route.
ICH was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by intrastriatal infusion of bacterial collagenase VII-S or autologous blood. UCN (2.5 or 25 μg/kg) was administered i.p. at 60 minutes post-ICH. Penetration of i.p. administered fluorescently labeled UCN into the striatum was examined by fluorescence microscopy. Neurological deficits were evaluated by modified neurological severity score (mNSS). Brain edema was assessed using the dry/wet method. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption was assessed using the Evans blue assay. Hemorrhagic volume and lesion volume were assessed by Drabkin's method and morphometric assay, respectively. Pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) expression was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Microglial activation and neuronal loss were evaluated by immunohistochemistry.
Administration of UCN reduced neurological deficits from 1 to 7 days post-ICH. Surprisingly, although a higher dose (25 μg/kg, i.p.) also reduced the functional deficits associated with ICH, it is significantly less effective than the lower dose (2.5 μg/kg, i.p.). Beneficial results with the low dose of UCN included a reduction in neurological deficits from 1 to 7 days post-ICH, as well as a reduction in brain edema, BBB disruption, lesion volume, microglial activation and neuronal loss 3 days post-ICH, and suppression of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 production 1, 3 and 7 days post-ICH.
Systemic post-ICH treatment with UCN reduces striatal injury and neurological deficits, likely via suppression of microglial activation and inflammatory cytokine production. The low dose of UCN necessary and the clinically amenable peripheral route make UCN a potential candidate for development into a clinical treatment regimen.
PMCID: PMC3271957  PMID: 22257737
anti-neuroinflammation; brain edema; intracerebral hemorrhage; urocortin
19.  Effects of cromolyn sodium on isolated rat's trachea 
Allergy & Rhinology  2011;2(2):e46-e50.
Cromolyn sodium (cromolyn) effectively inhibits both antigen- and exercise-induced asthma when used as an aerosol. Intranasal cromolyn is also recommended for preventing and treating allergic rhinitis. By inhibiting the degranulation of sensitized mast cells, cromolyn reduces the release of mediators that trigger inflammation and the allergic response. The precise pharmacologic activity of cromolyn has not been fully elucidated. This study evaluated the effect of cromolyn on isolated rat's trachea. The following assessments of cromolyn were performed: (1) effect on tracheal resting tension, (2) effect on contraction caused by 10−6 M of methacholine as a parasympathetic mimetic, and (3) effect of the drug on electrically induced tracheal contractions. The results indicated cromolyn could inhibit electrical field stimulation-induced spike contraction when the preparation was increased to 10−4M. Adding cromolyn at doses of ≥10−8 M did not elicit a relaxation or contraction response to 10−6 M of methacholine-induced contraction. It alone had a minimal effect on the basal tension of the trachea as the concentration increased. This study indicates cromolyn had no cholinergic or anticholinergic effect and high concentrations of cromolyn might actually inhibit parasympathetic function of the trachea. Inhibiting parasympathetic function of the trachea through stabilizing the presynaptic nerve by cromolyn may be responsible for protecting patients against antigen- and exercise-induced asthma.
PMCID: PMC3390115  PMID: 22852116
Cromolyn; in vitro study smooth muscle; trachea
20.  Complete Nucleotide Sequence of pCTX-M360, an Intermediate Plasmid between pEL60 and pCTX-M3, from a Multidrug-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Strain Isolated in China ▿ †  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2009;53(12):5291-5293.
In this work we report the characterization of plasmid pCTX-M360, isolated from a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain from China and encoding the CTX-M-3 extended-spectrum β-lactamase. Sequence analysis of pCTX-M360 revealed extensive similarity with pEL60 and pCTX-M3, two other enterobacterial plasmids of the IncL/M incompatibility group. Compared to pEL60, pCTX-M360 contains several insertions but lacks most of a 27-kb insert found in pCTX-M3, suggesting that it could be an evolutionary intermediate between pEL60 and pCTX-M3.
PMCID: PMC2786365  PMID: 19752275
21.  Tetramethylpyrazine inhibits activities of glioma cells and glutamate neuro-excitotoxicity: Potential therapeutic application for treatment of gliomas 
Neuro-Oncology  2008;10(2):139-152.
We tested the herbal extract 2,3,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) for possible therapeutic efficacy against a glioma cell line and against gliomas transplanted into rat brains. In the cultured glioma cells, 50 μM TMP significantly inhibited glutamate-induced increase in intracellular calcium. Significant cell damage (30%) and proliferation suppression (10%), however, occurred only at higher concentrations (200–400 μM). Glioma- neuronal co-culturing resulted in significant neuronal damage and higher proliferation of the glioma cells (140%) compared with single cultures. Low concentrations of TMP (⩽200 μM) attenuated the neuronal damage, suppressed glioma migration, and decreased glioma proliferation in the neuronal-glioma co-culture. Gliomas transplanted into the frontal cortical area exhibited high proliferation, with untreated rats dying 10–23 days later. TMP treatment inhibited tumor growth and significantly extended survival time. The results indicate that TMP can suppress glioma activity, including growth, and protect neurons against glioma-induced excitotoxicity, suggesting that TMP may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of malignant gliomas.
PMCID: PMC2613816  PMID: 18314418
calcium; excitotoxicity; glioblastoma multiforme; tetramethylpyrazine
22.  Higher Expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Is Associated with Extracellular Matrix Metalloprotease Inducer in Colorectal Adenocarcinoma: Tissue Microarray Analysis of Immunostaining Score with Clinicopathological Parameters 
Disease Markers  2007;22(5-6):309-316.
Aim: Extracellular matrix metalloprotease inducer (EMMPRIN) expression was demonstrated in several cancers, but its expression profile in colorectal cancers remains unclear. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was reported to regulate EMMPRIN expression in human epithelial cancers. Our purpose was to determine EMMPRIN expression and its relationship with EGFR in colorectal cancers.
Methods: Immunohistochemical analysis of EMMPRIN and EGFR was performed in tissue microarray slides of 90 surgical specimens including 32 well differentiated, 35 moderately differentiated, and 23 poorly differentiated colorectal adenocarcinomas.
Results: All colorectal adenocarcinomas showed significant immunohistochemical expression of EMMPRIN. The EMMPRIN scores in poorly differentiated (303 ± 21) and moderately differentiated (326 ± 17) colorectal adenocarcinoma were significantly higher than in well differentiated (166 ± 20) colorectal adenocarcinoma. EGFR expression was mainly on the cell surface of tumor cells and the immunostaining scores of EGFR were significantly associated with the advanced clinical T and N stages. A significantly positive relationship between EMMPRIN and EGFR immunostaining scores was also noted.
Conclusions: Increased expression of EMMPRIN and EGFR in colorectal adenocarcinomas is associated with clinicopathological parameters of advanced colorectal adenocarcinoma stages. In addition, the data from this study support the notion that EGFR expression may up-regulate EMMPRIN expression.
PMCID: PMC3851072  PMID: 17264401
Extracellular matrix metalloprotease inducer; EMMPRIN; epidermal growth factor receptor; colorectal; adenocarcinoma

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